The Hall of Fame is dominating the headlines today, but there’s still a bit to discuss from the rumor mill …
- We talked about utility man Ben Zobrist this weekend, and about the report that had the Cubs “seriously” pursuing a deal for him (together with three other teams). A couple days before that Nick Cafardo report, Bruce Levine wrote about Zobrist being a fit on the Cubs and the White Sox. Therein, Levine hints that the Cubs could have interest in Zobrist, and, now having seen Cafardo’s specific report on that subject, you could read Levine’s piece as additional support for the idea that, yeah, the Cubs really do have interest in actually trying to acquire Zobrist.
- (The White Sox, by the way, likely filled their Zobrist-ish need when they signed Emilio Bonifacio yesterday, though I would have questioned whether they were in a good position to be able to trade for Zobrist anyway.)
- Another lefty reliever goes off the board, with the Tigers signing Tom Gorzelanny to a one-year big league deal. Given his production out of the pen in recent years, it’s a bit hard to understand why Zach Duke got three years and $15 million after just one great year, while Gorzelanny has to settle for a one-year deal after three very good years in a row. I guess it was probably the pre-2014 shoulder surgery (though he was very good after it). In any case, if the Cubs are looking to pick up a sure-fire lefty to add to the pen, there is now one fewer option out there. It’s looking more and more like the Cubs will be choosing from among their in-house options, and may even wind up carrying just one left to start the year.
- Bruce Levine also writes about the Cubs’ desire for OBP at the top of the lineup (natch), and mentions Denard Span and Coco Crisp as trade options that could “make sense.” Levine has consistently mentioned Span, who would be a great fit, throughout the offseason, but I wonder if the Nationals’ recent trade of prospect Steven Souza will make them less likely to move Span out. Then again, with so many players set to become free agents after this season, I still think it makes sense for the Nats to deal at least one of those guys to capture a little value before they walk or become super expensive. As for Crisp, he’s always been a quietly very solid player, but he’s 35 and is coming off his worst all-around year in a very long time. Worse, he’s set to make $11 million each of the next two seasons, with a $13 million vesting option the year after that. The A’s would have to eat a ton of salary to make Crisp palatable to the Cubs, and I’m not sure that’s their bag.
- Speaking of trading for a quality outfield bat, you can rule out Alex Gordon. No, he was never a likely trade candidate (though there were rumors), but now it’s basically a lock that he won’t be traded after undergoing wrist surgery. It doesn’t sound like a particularly serious surgery, all things considered, but the possibility of trading him was already a longshot given that the Royals would have to pick up pieces that could help their big league roster in the process. Now there’s just no way there would ever be a match in value with another team.
- And speaking of the outfield, Jon Morosi notes that Colby Rasmus came away from his Buck Showalter meeting impressed. Also, the Rays may get involved on Rasmus (why wouldn’t they, especially if they deal Ben Zobrist? Value is value), with whom they’ve had discussions, per Morosi.
- An interesting piece at MLBTR looking at the various teams around the league that could still stand to add some pitching. Given that the Cubs have an abundance of back-end starting options and may already be looking to deal Travis Wood, you might find some matches there.
- That team might not be the Phillies, though, after they signed Aaron Harang to a one-year, $5 million deal.
- Stephen Drew, in whom the Cubs may or may not have interest, is looking for upwards of $7 million on a one-year deal (Mike Puma). That’s less than we’d heard before, but still seems like a lot. Even the shortstop-needy Mets are balking at that price, according to Puma.